Need help installing Defiant In-Wall Digital timer (Model # 49814) on 3-way


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Old 12-06-14, 12:07 PM
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Question Need help installing Defiant In-Wall Digital timer (Model # 49814) on 3-way

Greetings everyone.

Trying to replace one of a 3-way switch in my kitchen with the timer on the load side. Read the manual but when I opened up the switches I could not understand what I am seeing.

FYI - this is a ceiling fan with light kit. Lights controlled by the two 3-way switches; fan is obviously always hot.

The switch that needs to be replaced with the timer is supposedly the Load side (see first picture). Both wires are dead when the breaker is off. There is only one 3-wire cable coming in to this box.

The other side will keep the original 3-way switch and this is supposedly the Line side (see 2nd picture).
'Supposedly' because I am not sure I understand what's going on with the wires.
There are two cables coming in: one is a 2-wire, the other is 3-wire.
The Black wire of the 2-wire is connected to the White wire from the 3-wire cable, and it is the Hot/Line.
When I checked the Black and Red wire that go to this switch, they both lit very weakly when checked with a tester, but only the black one responds to a voltage detector.
Clearly I don't understand why the Hot wire is connected to the white and how both switches get their power.

Also, on the Load side I will have only two wires to connect to the switch and according to the manual there should be another wire to connect to it (it has Blue, Black and Red).

I would prefer to put the switch in the Load side (the one with the single 3-wire cable).

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
 
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Old 12-06-14, 12:43 PM
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If your tester is a non contact tester you results mean nothing. You need a multimeter and readings need to be to ground or neutral. Neither box has a neutral so you would need to measure to a known good ground. However based on the pictures you don't really have line in either box. (Line is at the light.) You do have a switch loop. The white of the two conductor cable in the second picture is the power in of your switch loop. The black of the 2-conductor cable is the power out.

Give us the make and model of the timer or better a link to wiring diagrams for it. Does the instructions say it can be used on a switch loop? If so those are the instructions you need.
 
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Old 12-06-14, 01:09 PM
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Thanks Ray.

The model is in the subject (Model # 49814) and my tester is a contact tester. I tested it against the white that goes to the switch.
I also linked the manual - http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/pdf...852fffabdc.pdf.

I don't see anything in the manual regarding a switch loop.

If the white of the 2-conductor is the power in, how come it is cold when the breaker is on? Only the black wire is hot.

If the only way to install it is in the Line side, I'll do that. I'd rather have the timer installed in a less-desired location than not installed at all.
 
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Old 12-06-14, 01:16 PM
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If the white of the 2-conductor is the power in, how come it is cold when the breaker is on? Only the black wire is hot.
With that two wire cable...... one wire should be hot at all times and one should only be hot when the light is on.

I don't think that timer will work in that application.
 
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Old 12-06-14, 01:20 PM
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With that two wire cable...... one wire should be hot at all times and one should only be hot when the light is on.
But they are both connected together, so that white is apparently hot all the time then if the black wire is also hot.
 
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Old 12-06-14, 01:54 PM
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It appears to be a switch loop. Power comes down on the white to to the common of the switch and back to the light on the black.
 
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Old 12-06-14, 02:13 PM
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It appears to be a switch loop. Power comes down on the white to to the common of the switch and back to the light on the black.
So how come the black is hot and is not even connected to the switch? I don't get it.

Does this mean I cannot use this switch?
 
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Old 12-06-14, 02:29 PM
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Does this help you? Note the black and white of the 2-conductor cable may be reversed. I can't tell on your picture for sure.

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Last edited by ray2047; 12-06-14 at 04:57 PM.
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Old 12-06-14, 02:59 PM
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Hmm, OK, so is it possible that the 'cold' white wire that is connected to the hot black one (on the right side of my second picture) is actually the 'hot'/common of the other switch which I thought was the Load side?

Also, if this is the case, is it possible that there is no natural wire at all?
 
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Old 12-06-14, 04:29 PM
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There is no neutral in either switch box. You can tell by the connections. By code the white wire from the light was supposed to be remarked black or red or any color but gray or green on both ends using bands of colored tape, felt tip marker or liquid insulation. The only neutral is at the light. The "line" side is at the light not one of the switches.

You could though replace the 2-conduductot switch leg with a 3-conductor switch leg. In that case unswitched power would be black and red would be switched power. That would give you access to "line" at the switch.

Just to be clear any measurement made with a non contact tester only indicates a magnetic field which may or may not indicate real voltage. On a 120v circuit any measurement with a test light that isn't made to neutral or ground usually doesn't really indicate anything. You really need a cheap ($8-$15) analog multimeter. (Digital multimeters can give misleading information on AC.)
 

Last edited by ray2047; 12-07-14 at 05:28 PM.
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Old 12-07-14, 10:42 AM
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OK, so the white wire of the switch with the two cables is the hot. Tested with contact to a ground. But it still doesn't work, switch is either on Line or Load side...won't budge.
 
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Old 12-07-14, 11:47 AM
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Does the timer have four wires, white, black, red, green?

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If so you the white wire on the switch goes to the neutral. You have no neutral. It will not work without a neutral.
 
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Old 12-07-14, 03:01 PM
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Yes, this is the switch, with 4 wires + ground.
 
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Old 12-07-14, 03:35 PM
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Have you verified power comes in at the light?
 
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Old 12-07-14, 04:23 PM
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Have you verified power comes in at the light?
Do you mean when the timer is connected?
 
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Old 12-07-14, 04:52 PM
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No. Power to the light. However I'm sure you do so just disregard that question. The switch you have as I have been saying will not work with the wiring you have. Please reread post #10.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 12-07-14 at 05:26 PM.
 

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